With the news that brands are fighting back when it comes to counterfeit goods, and that a US judge has ordered the search engines to take down sites which sell such merchandise, it’s sobering to think that criminal minds behind such sites are pretty good at SEO.
Well, let’s make a distinction here, the people who work for the counterfeiters are good at SEO. Because, the odd thing about the internet, is that it does allow the criminal fraternity to flourish. Think about the scamming techniques, phishing strategies, virus attacks and identity thefts; behind all these attempts are very clever digital marketing experts who not only understand the system, but also know how to tip the odds in their favour.
Some of the most active counterfeit sites are operated by very clever marketeers who know all the tricks of the trade and can exploit weaknesses in the system. This may revert back to the fact that the internet started out very much as a digital wild west and went quickly from an academic notice board to a pornographers delight.
But, the one thing that they cannot compete with is being taken off the net. No matter how clever, how good at SEO, it’s curtain’s when the service providers and search engines decide it’s goodnight Vienna.
Of course, it does take us into a broader question of who has the right to bring down a website. The ISPs and other operators have never portrayed themselves as policeman, nor censors, and rely on the laws of individual countries. If they start to act a policemen, where might it all stop – bringing down a website which is doing too well on SEO, and not paying enough PPC? We’ll have to see.